My cat used to get up on my kitchen countertops (always looking for food) until my mother told me to point a spray bottle with water in it at him. At first I had to actually spray him several times. Now, all I have to do is hold up the spray bottle for him to see and he jumps down as fast as he can!
This also works for the person who doesn't want the neighbors' cats pooping in his or her flower pots and beds.
I do it all the time.
But what do you do about when you're asleep or not home? I've come home from work and found grains of cat litter on my dining table. Wonder how those got there? Cats learn quickly that the rules only apply when a human is within view.
I had the same problem during the night. What worked for me was a cheap roll of masking tape. I turned the tape sticky side up over the counter leaving almost no room for the cat to step without stepping on the sticky side of the tape. It took a few days, but she got the hint.
I'm sorry, but you are only hurting your relationship with your cat. Have you ever researched feline behavior? I have owned cats my whole life, and never a problem with the countertops or table.
The thing is, cats do not recognize discipline! They don't understand, they just resent you for it. They respond to rewards that is it. Find a way to reward your cat for eating it's own food, etc.
I have a strong idea that you have let your cat eat people food in the past so you created the problem. Some states recognize that as abuse, I have heard.
Anyway, why not provide places your cat CAN jump up on, window ledges, etc. They just want something to do and explore.
Just keep in mind, dogs respond to discipline and learn from it, cats do not. They just think you are being mean to them by spraying them, and they will build resentment.
Possibly you can put something on your kitchen counter top for the times when you are away that the cat will dislike. How about upside down empty egg cartons?
I have four cats and I use the spray bottle a lot with one who refuses to learn the rules. He loves me, sleeps on my lap every night and beside me in bed. When I am outside he follows me from window to window and cries when I am out of his sight. I don't think he resents me at all. I also never feed them people food because that encourages begging at the table. He is just nosey. He likes to check out the sink in case there is something to lick, and look out the window over the sink because the view is different. He also opens the drawer the trash is in to see if there might be a spare morsel in there. He is NOT underweight or sick in any way. I tried those things that look like upside down chair mats on the counters and that didn't work either. The water bottle is the only thing that even comes close to making him understand that the counters are off limits! He's just stubborn.
I was told something similar but to make sure the cat doesn't SEE you pointing or actually spraying as the cat then associates YOU, their owner with the unpleasantness and is confused and mistrusts you. I tried it with my Tom and yes he was suspicious of me when he knew he was doing something wrong but if you can hide the water bottle I think puss won't mistrust you quite as much.x
Several years ago I had three cats. They all got on the counters and especially in the sink. I tried the spray bottle method and it worked perfectly for TWO of the cats. In fact, they reached a point where, if they were even thinking of getting on the counter, I could pick up anything handy that even slightly resembed the spray bottle (peanut butter jar worked well), point it, and they'd scatter. But the third cat would just close her eyes, screw up her face, and wait for the water! Wish I had a picture.... --shoe
You might try putting a small amount of water in an aluminum pie plate, sorta hanging off the edge of the counter so that when the cat tries to jump on the counter they flip the pie plate and get doused with water and the falling aluminum pie plate makes a noise when hitting the floor. Might scare them off jumping up on the counter.
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